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Capturing Occupant Well-being

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Interest in health and well-being has increased dramatically in recent years, with the rise of smart phones, smart watches and other health related devices. This interest is mirrored in buildings, from office based businesses looking at ways to gain an edge on their competitors (see Google’s head office), to hospitals trying to lower costs through reduced patient recovery times. Within the design and control of buildings however, there exists a lack of clarity and evidence as to what exactly constitutes good ‘design for well-being’. Further, the well-being of building occupants can sometimes suffer as a result of energy saving design and control strategies. The overarching idea behind this research project is to create a ‘well-being sensor’ that operates in a similar manner to a temperature or CO2 sensor. It will utilise a web-cam, located atop an occupant’s computer monitor and provide constant data on the well-being of that occupant. To infer well-being levels from the video data, a variety of existing soft-wares will be used to analyse the emotions from both video and speech, as well as general posture and activity. The findings will not only help provide data and evidence supporting good ‘design for well-being’, but could also be applied to building control systems to vary building parameters with the aim of maximising occupant well-being, productivity and creativity.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars series.

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